These days we find ourselves constantly on the lookout for warm places to escape to when December begins. This is how we stumbled upon the beautiful Dominican Republic and its mesmerizing Caribbean coast. Since we know many of our readers like to indulge in exotic travels this time of the year, we took the “pampering” factor, added some adventure travel and came up with an interesting getaway: Punta Cana.

Punta Cana is known as the easternmost region of the Dominican Republic and together with the Bavaro area, it forms the famous Coconut Coast. Although this is a lavish and overall highly priced region, we do like the adventure travel options it offers. And here are just some of the things you can do when based on the southeastern coast of the Dominican Republic:

#1. Diving into Hoyo Azul, Scape Park

This  blue oasis lies within Scape Park, a natural theme park with plenty of attractions and cool things to do. Before booking a tour from Punta Cana ($70 in 2017), remember to do a little research, the park may be closer to your hotel than you think. You can simply hire a taxi, get to the park, pay an entrance fee (around $40) and explore on your own.

This natural blue pool inside a “cenote” is a fantastic way to cool off and relax after hiking in the park. Be sure to bring along hiking boots, a bathing suit and also remember to dress in layers for the trip to the cave. The water is ice cold, but refreshing at the same time. You can jump in the blue waters from a wooden platform, about 3 meters (9,84 feet) tall.

#2. Try a Zipline adventure

Punta Cana is surrounded by adventure parks and thrilling ziplines. The easiest way to try them out is to book a tour from your hotel. There are many accommodation options in the area and you can click here to get a general idea. When you book an adventure tour, local guides will pick you up, show you around pristine Dominican forests and make sure you choose the right zipline.

You can combine a zipline tour with a trip to Monkeyland, where you can interact with the adorable squirrel monkeys in the region.

#3. Get on board a Hot Air Balloon Ride

You can see some of the surrealistic beaches in the South-East of the Dominican Republic on board a hot air balloon. Many of the tour organizers prefer having their guests gliding above the Bavaro coast at sunrise, when the light is spectacular. You can enjoy views of the Caribbean, sugar plantations and hidden patches of golden sand.

#4. River Horseback Riding

The Anamya River is what you are looking for when in search of a river horseback riding experience in Punta Cana. By booking a tour, you can enjoy the Dominican countryside on the saddle, and take in the landscape as you walk, trot or gallop. Most tours in the area combine horseback riding with zipline tours, but you can also book separate riding hours on the river or beaches.

#5. Full Day Snorkeling Adventures

Most snorkeling tours from Punta Cana take you to Catalina Island, where you can explore the unspoiled tropical beaches and dive into a famous snorkeling site dubbed “The Wall”. The area is known for its clean waters and colorful ecosystem. Tours are organized for both beginners and expert divers.

Other interesting things to do in the region include parasailing, boat flying (you will see them around El Cortecito), cave explorations and dune buggy adventures. We hope we have triggered your appetite for a daring escapade this winter (for all of you stuck here in the Northern hemisphere) and we can’t wait to find out what your next travel destination will be.